Motor Vehicle Accidents Law
Motorcyclists face risks in motor vehicle accidents that other drivers do not. Motorcycle riders are more exposed to impact in a collision, which makes severe injuries more likely. However, motorcycle accident victims may be entitled to compensation from the fault party for medical expenses and other damages.
Motorcycle accident laws vary by state. It is best to consult an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in a city near you to receive advice based on your unique circumstances.
According to a September 2021 report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 84,000 motorcyclists sustained injuries on U.S. roadways in 2019. The injury rate per 100,000 registered vehicles was 975 for motorcyclists, compared to 1,152 for passenger cars.
However, the injury rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was 426 for motorcyclists, compared to 109 for passenger cars. Even more concerning, the fatality rate for motorcyclists involved in accidents was significantly higher than for other auto accidents.
There were 5,014 motorcyclist fatalities in 2019, representing 14% of total traffic fatalities. Motorcycle riders represented 94% of these fatalities (4,733), while 6% (281) of those killed were passengers. Motorcyclist fatalities were 29 times more likely than passenger car accident fatalities per vehicle miles traveled. Wearing a helmet is the single best way to reduce the chance of fatalities in a motorcycle crash. In states with universal helmet laws, like California, 9% of those killed were not wearing helmets, compared to 57% in states that do not have universal helmet laws.
If you were involved in a motorcycle crash, you should call the police and file a police report at the accident scene. The police report will document helpful evidence for insurance and personal injury claims.
The injured motorcyclist or anyone else hurt in the auto accident should get medical care immediately to prevent serious injuries like broken bones and traumatic brain injuries from getting worse. It also creates a medical record of the personal injury for a future motorcycle accident case.
Suppose your accident involved another motorist who acted negligently. In that case, a motorcycle accident attorney may be able to help you file a claim for personal injury so that you can receive financial compensation. When another driver doesn't act diligently and reasonably to avoid the accident, they can be liable for negligence in a court of law.
For example, a motorist who hits a biker after drifting into oncoming traffic could be negligent. But, if they drifted due to mechanical failure, they might not be liable. A manufacturing defect in a car or bike which causes an accident can also expose the company that manufactured the product to liability for negligence.
Motorcycle riders can also be partially responsible for collisions where someone else is at fault. For example, suppose the biker was speeding. In that case, the courts may award less compensation. However, whether a biker at fault for an accident can receive compensation depends on the laws where the accident occurred.
A biker responsible for an accident in Los Angeles will still receive some compensation if the other party was also negligent. But a biker in Las Vegas or Houston who was more than 51% responsible for the accident would be barred from receiving any compensation from the other driver under the doctrine of modified comparative negligence.
Evidence from the accident scene, like medical records, police reports, and testimonials, in the hands of an experienced personal injury lawyer can help your personal injury case. Many personal injury law firms provide free case reviews which can help you determine if you are entitled to compensation. Personal injury lawyers often take cases on a contingency basis, meaning your legal team does not get paid unless you accept a settlement offer or receive a trial verdict in your favor in a motorcycle accident lawsuit.
A motorcycle accident could change your life if it leads to catastrophic injuries. Depending on the medical treatment you receive and the quality of your legal representation, the amount of settlement you receive can vary. Motorcycle accident lawyers can help you get the maximum compensation. Damage awards could include compensation for medical bills, disfigurement or loss of function, wrongful death, and mental anguish.
Before negotiating a settlement offer with insurance companies or other drivers on your own, you should speak to an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. They can protect your legal rights and get the amount of financial compensation you deserve.